Cat Goes Fishing by Cat5Games hardly has the most imaginative title, but it is certainly accurate. Playing as a feline that has somehow learned the ancient art of fishing, the aim is to sell your haul for money. Make sense so far? It shouldn't!
Does what it Says on the Tin
I certainly can't take any marks away from Cat Goes Fishing for promising something that it never delivers. You're a cat, you have a fishing rod and you cast it out to catch fish. The ones that you reel in can be sold for a rather generous amount of money (rather than eaten, suspiciously).
The art style is very basic - it's 2D and it looks like it would work on the most meagre of smartphones or tablets.
I was presented with two difficulty options upon starting my first game - I could choose to have fish go limp once they've been hooked, or fish that struggle as they would in real life. I strongly recommend choosing the latter.
In an attempt to reinforce my character's feline nature, it will make a rather disturbing sound when it successfully reels a fish out of the water. I suppose it's meant to be a ‘meow' but it sounds more like a sound a cat would make if it were ever startled by an invisible hoover.
There is a little humour in the game - as one would expect given the title - for instance, there's a species of fish called a ‘grumper', and it's exactly what you'd expect. An angry predator that chases the bait for miles with a frowny face.
Release Date: 19/01/2015
Available on: Windows, PC Download
Play the Game
Perhaps There's a Little More to it?
I would be doing the game a disservice if I didn't highlight the little nuances that Cat5Games have added to make the game a little less basic than it first seemed.
I unlocked various mechanics as my level increased - most of these in the form of shops - and suddenly the $250 reward for catching a single, near-surface fish didn't seem so generous.
Rods can be replaced with ones that have better stats; strength, reel speed and casting distance - and they can also be upgraded, too, with add-ons that increase the speed at which an empty hook will reel itself back in, or allowing it to remain in the water without bait so that the environment can be studied.
As I continued to increase my level, I was given access to an attachment shop (that sells rockets and bombs!), boat shop, tool shop, a catalogue and, very early on, quests.
Boats allowed me access to areas and fish that I would have otherwise been unable to reach from the bank, while the toolshop gave me a minimap and radar once I'd completed enough quests.
The questing is uninteresting. I've been asked to catch one of a certain fish, five of a certain fish, cast a certain distance and have my lure sink a certain distance. That's about it. The reward is always a disappointing amount of cash. Once a quest is completed it's immediately replaced.
The fish aren't static. It took me a while to figure out the patrol routes and where certain types of fish hung around. Fish that you catch are removed from the water, although they will be eventually replaced - predacious fish apparently quicker than others.
There's no bait shop, and the bigger fish aren't interested in the standard bait that's applied to the hook. To catch their eye, I had to retrieve part of a smaller fish from the water (yes, fish will be gobbled at on the way, meaning that they won't contribute toward a quest objective and are worth less money to sell), cast it back and then try and go for the larger species.
The catalogue is like a very mundane version of the bestiary from dungeons and dragons games or The Witcher series. Geralt would be pleased with the concise and to-the-point descriptions.
Is that Enough?
Well, no. It isn't. Despite the nuances, the overriding feeling I felt when playing Cat Goes Fishing was boredom. That and drowsiness.
Despite the upgrades (which seemed to take an age to be able to afford after I'd bought the first couple), the basic questing and the variety of species, gameplay boiled down to repeatedly casting into the same sort of area many times over trying to hook a certain type of fish.
Often, I'd waste my bait because of a wide-patrolling grumper or mustardfish - and then I'd have to through the rigmarole of catching a small fish, then a slightly bigger fish, then trying to hook an even larger fish.
I found myself casting out around 10 times per minute. It feels incredibly repetitive, and the quests that asked me to catch the same fish multiple times certainly didn't help.
There's no incentive to collect money. I was working toward buying a better rod and a boat. That's all. It's not enough to keep someone interested because the items that are available make practically no difference to the gameplay.
For €6.99, Cat Goes Fishing is a disappointment. I got more rewarding play out of Strike Force Kitty - and that's a free browser game. After 40 minutes I was worried that I'd be sleeping on my keyboard. I needed a full mug of coffee just to go on.
I cannot recommend this game - unless you're struggling to fall asleep, in which case, it's probably as effective as anything that can be bought at a pharmacy.
Play the Game
Cat Goes Fishing is developed by Cat5Games.